How To Live Long, From Two People Over 100

Video: To meet some of the most famous old people in the world, I flew to Costa Rica. Where most folks from my flight probably headed straight for the beach, the Lifehacker crew and I drove into the hot, dry hills of the Nicoya peninsula.

There we met 103-year-old Don Aniano, who lives on the farm where he worked for much of his life, as the farmers’ adopted grandfather. Then we drove to a village where 99-year-old Doña Dora taught me to make rosquillas — a cheesy, cookie-like treat — in her open-air kitchen on the day before her 100th birthday. (We brought her a cake.)

For years scientists have been trying to figure out what makes people live so long in this region. The latest results show that it’s probably a complex mixture of factors: Elderly Nicoyans build on lucky genetics with a healthy diet, jobs that gave them plenty of exercise, and a supportive community that contributes to good mental health. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Costa Rica has an excellent healthcare system with a focus on preventive care.

In this video, we learn about the Nicoyan lifestyle and ask the centenarians themselves how they feel about living to 100.

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